As the latter half of 2008 becomes ever more interesting I find that one of the movies I’m unbearably curious to see is JCVD, the comedy/action film that stars Jean-Claude Van Damme in an eccentric dramatization of the life of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Think of it relating to the Muscles From Brussels as Adaptation did to Charlie Kaufman, if Kaufman had been playing himself.

Part of the reason for the fascination that needs no explanation is Van Damme; I find him wholly repellent and absolutely magnetic. He’s almost got an old Hollywood quality, if you can get past the kicking. He could have made a memorable character actor in another era. More to the point, I enjoy seeing how the occasional filmmaker is able to take a personality that was a favorite during some formative years and apply it to something with imagination. Anyone can reboot a series or an old idea; a fresh coat of paint is easy to apply. Much more difficult is persuading someone to take a chance with their image and embrace something that appears to be off the beaten path.

The film has had great notes at several festivals, and friends who’ve been at TIFF for the past week have continually included it in their lists of favorite films from the roster. The limited release begins November 7; you can check out the trailer below and see an exclusive clip at Cinematical.

The thin excuse for this article is that director Mabrouk el Mechri, called a “world-class talent” by Todd at Twitch, has been signed to a deal with Endeavor, which should help capitalize on the success of JCVD.